Album Review: Yung J.R - Start The Movement
by Gardy Stein
It's a family ting! 22-year-old Ababa Jahnoi Reid aka Yung J.R is causing a stir with his debut album entitled Start The Movement. In case his name rings a bell: yes, he is the offspring of legendary singer Junior Reid, who himself just recently came up with The Living Legend. And that's not all of the family vibe there is: Adoney Reid, Yung J.R's elder brother, signs responsible for producing the release under the wings of Just Rock Records. Others who contributed their craftsmanship are King Jammys, Andrew Bassie, Kejo, Ever Blaze Productions, Bassick Records and Flash Hit Records.
Ever so slightly, the 11 tracks tickle memories of riddims of the past, most directly felt in I Love King Selassie which is clearly an hommage to Black Uhuru, the band his father became leadsinger of in 1985. And as if to make sure we don't miss a note of the instrumental genius therein, we find a dub version of it as well at the end of the album. But back to the top.
General is an ironic portrait of area dons who think they deserve respect but in fact only spread negativity. "I say no man no better than no man. Equal rights and justice, you know. Organize, centralise, form as one!". This critical tone prevails. In Want No War, the message is clearly brought across in combination with buddy Cali P. Apart from the lyrics remindful of Junior Reid's greatest hit One Blood, the riddim itself is a revelation. Bassline, horns and exactly the right amount of skank - roots rock reggae! Revolution featuring Dre Island is a completely different affair. Roots gave way to a quite minmalistic beat here, which however leaves the more room for the singers' voices to fill the track with words of truth and an appeal to fight injustice!
Reminiscing Those Days, the next tune is a tribute to Jamaicans in general and Reggae & Dancehall artists in particular. Keida does a great job joyriding on the foundations laid out by Yung J.R, hailing "trend setters" Tenor Saw, Super Cat and Buju Banton in the process.
And then: Raggamuffin time! Out on video since 2013, you might have stumbled across this tune before, and if you did, it has propably nestled comfortably in your head (at least it did in mine). No fading away here! That he has soft notes at his command as well is proven in No Tomorrow, a tender love song for a girl who is not with him any more.
While One Way is an uplifting track well delivered vocally, Red Dress and So Blessed feel more like fillers. Even though the latter has conscious lyrics, the two of them just don't have the same splendour as the preceding tracks. Good thing we know by now that the artist can perform much better!
Indeed, with this debut, Yung J.R proves his ability to proudly carry on the torch of Reggae music. His clear voice can climb impressive heights, both in pitch and expressiveness. With uhuruian beauty, he manages to bring back trademark-sounds without just copying - especially his toasting has a unique style that we can look forward to see blossoming to its full potential over the next years. Family Reid on the rise!
Yung J.R - Start The Movement
Release date: 09/08/2015
02. Want No War feat. Cali P
03. Revolution feat. Dre Island
04. Those Days feat. Keida
06. No Tomorrow
07. I Love King Selassie
08. One Way
09. Red Dress
10. So Blessed
11. I Love King Selassie (Dub)